Parents concerned about student safety after Alpine School District boundary change
Aug 23, 2023, 7:29 AM | Updated: Nov 3, 2023, 4:20 pm
LEHI, Utah — Lehi police said a high school student was hit while riding his bike during school pickup at nearby Belmont Elementary School on Friday. The 16-year-old Skyridge High student did not receive significant injuries, according to police.
“The driver saw the student late and attempted to break. Contact was made and the student rolled onto the driver’s hood,” said Jeanteil Livingston, spokesperson for the Lehi Police Department. “There was pickup traffic in the area at the time of the accident and it does appear that this traffic was a contributing factor.”
Police said both the student and driver are cooperating.
Ethan Kirk, a parent in the carpool traffic, witnessed the crash.
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“He could not see. As soon as he could, fast-moving traffic going southbound hit him, unfortunately,” Kirk said. “It was scary for all the parents in line to witness that.”
Kirk fears boundary changes, which impacted school bus service in the Traverse Mountian neighborhood, are causing long lines of traffic during carpool at Belmont Elementary.
“My children both rode the bus last year. They changed the boundaries and their policy states that anyone within a mile and a half is not eligible for a bus,” he said.
He would like to see bus service reinstated saying that would alleviate carpool traffic.
The district is attributing the recent heavy traffic to parents wanting to drive their students during the first week of school.
Kirk fears if changes aren’t made, the bicycle accident will not be a one-time occurrence.
“It’s only a matter of time before it happens again, unless changes are made,” he said.
For about 300 students at nearby Viewpoint Middle School, if they choose to walk, they need to cross the busy Timpanogos Highway.
Parent Cindy Olsenslager said that is a problem.
“The kids are just kind of dodging cars there,” she said. “I understand that it should be up to the parents, but the fact is the kids are walking across the highway.”
Her son has been a student at Viewpoint for two years, but the recent boundary changes assigned him to a different middle school much further away.
“Now they will not bus them because they don’t belong in that school,” she said.
He is one of 366 students who has signed an out-of-boundary request form to attend Viewpoint Middle School this school year.
That number last year was just 49.
“Those families who are requesting an out-of-area, it’s not all but it is likely that a majority of them to receive transportation services to their boundaried junior high school,” said Kimberly Bird, spokesperson for the Alpine School District.
The school district says the boundary changes were necessary to have an equalized utilization of schools.
“These are always difficult decisions,” she said. “We know that we can never be perfect in making a decision that is something that everyone is, you know, happy and celebrating.”
Bird said the district understands families will have their concerns and welcomes feedback.
When asked about out-of-boundary students needing to cross Timpanogos Highway to get home, she said that was something parents needed to take into consideration.
“It is a significant thoroughfare, we’ve got many of them throughout Alpine School District, and that’s a decision that I think families have to think about when they are weighing that into their decision,” she said.